Running your own business often becomes all-consuming and, at times, it can feel like your business is your life.
Unfortunately, long working hours often becomes the norm and before you know it there is not much time left for anything else. Our Managing Partner Marco Piteo stresses the importance of keeping a ‘to do’ list, and ensuring that self-care is at the very top of that list every day. Whether you are driven by the fulfilment of running your own business or you feel like your business is running you, it’s extremely important to take time out for you, your family and your friends. Working excessively long working hours has not only been linked with poorer mental health but also excessive fatigue and burnout.
Everybody has a different idea of the “perfect” Work/Life balance, and indeed it should be different for different people. However, there are some things we can all do to help get a little closer a little sooner!
- Set a time to switch off your business email and mobile phone each day. Technology often blurs the boundaries between work and home and this often makes you feel like you’re always “switched on”.
- Set an alarm reminder to take breaks throughout the day.
- Ensure you take a lunch break or go outside for a short walk everyday as this can help you to organise your thoughts and manage your stress.
- Take an afternoon off or take a short holiday after a busy period. It can often be easier to balance periods of longer hours with some periods of shorter hours.
- Learn what to delegate or say ‘no’ to. Some tasks may not need your expertise and could be completed by someone else, and some tasks may not be of priority or benefit and saying ‘no’ may be the best approach.
- Plan your day. If your mindset is already resigned to the fact that you will be working a long day, you could find that you are not as productive during the day.
- Prepare a To Do List and prioritise urgent tasks and set yourself timelines that you plan to complete them by.
Remember to stay connected!
Running your business takes time and energy and sometimes it can feel very lonely. This can be true in a literal sense if you are a sole trader working on your own or even if you are a sole business owner with employees. Sharing some of the challenges you are facing in business with your staff isn’t always possible and this can make life feel “very lonely at the top”.
It is extremely important to keep yourself connected and find someone who you can talk to and share with about your business successes and stresses. Having a support person like this is linked to better mental health.
Here are some tips to increase your support:
- Find someone to talk to – often another small business owner who understands your stresses and predicaments is helpful as well as a close friend or a family member who cares for you and can give you a different perspective.
- Find yourself a business mentor. You may do this through a formal business mentor service, or it could be informally through one of your existing contacts.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can provide a good foundation for managing the day-to-day challenges of running your business.
Here are some to consider:
- Learn different relaxation techniques and find the one that works for you. You may consider exercising, meditating, listening to music or connecting with nature.
- Download a meditation & relaxation app, like Calm. Either starting or finishing the day, or both with meditation can help you to manage your stress.
- Make some time for exercise. The key is to find something you enjoy and that fits in with your other commitments.
- Find a hobby outside of your business that is either only for you or that you can share with family and friends.
- Give yourself something to look forward to every day. This could be a catch up with a friend, watching a movie with your partner, playing a boardgame with your children, reading 10 pages of a new novel, enjoying a favourite meal, walking your dog, gazing at the stars or watching the sun rise.
If you need professional support, please contact your doctor, local health centre or one of the services listed on the R U OK? website here.